Butterflies

Below are pictures of some of the more unusual butterflies  recorded in Fineshade Wood.  

This is work in progress and if you have pictures that we can add to this page to make a more complete collection we would be delighted.  For example, it would be great to have more pictures or sightings of the five Biodiversity Action Plan Species that have been recorded here.  (Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, White-letter Hairstreak, White Admiral and Small Heath.)

The 2016 report of the status of butterflies in Fineshade Wood compiled by County Recorder, Doug Goddard, is available here. 

 

This butterfly was first seen in Fineshade in June 2018

when Andy Wyldes saw four of these fritillaries in the southern part of the wood. 

 

Then in July a second and third group of the same species were found over a mile away by Douglas Goddard. This seems to suggest that the attractive species is colonising the wood for the first time.

Photo by Douglas Goddard

Dark Green Fritillary

 

 

 
 

Purple Emperor

 

 

Until recently this species was rare nationally but is now increasing its range year by year.

 

As far as is known the first records were at Top Lodge in July 2015. It was not recorded again until 2018 when there were several records in the wood

 

Photos by Barrie Galpin and Niall Rudd

Brown Argus

 

Twelve specimens of this charming butterfly were recorded by Douglas Goddard and Andy Wyldes on 12th August 2015, some in the field on the way up to Top Lodge and some along the main track that leads past the caravan site.

 

Photos by Roger Eads and Douglas Goddard

Chalkhill Blue

 

On 12th August 2015 this female was recorded near Top Lodge by Douglas Goddard, the Northants County Recorder.  Doug believes that it is the first female to have been seen in the county in modern times

 

There is a colony at Barnack Hills and Holes and individuals can fly some distance from known colonies

White-letter Hairstreak

 

 

This BAP species has been recorded regularly here since the 1980s.  Indeed, when Dutch Elm Disease was at its height Fineshade was one of only two or three places where it could be found. 

 

Photos by Douglas Goddard and Barrie Galpin

 

 

 

Black Hairstreak

 

 

One of the rarest and most elusive of the UK's butterflies and until 2018 there were only 2 Fineshade records.

 

Then, as with many other sites in the area, there was an explosion of records with over a hundred being reported here.

Photo by Douglas Goddard

 

 

 

Purple Hairstreak

 

 

Our commonest hairstreak spending most of its time high in the Oak and Ash canopy.

It is unusual to be able to take photos such as this -especially of one landing on one's finger! Thanks very much indeed Anna Jordan.

 

White Admiral

 

 

A smattering of sightings of this BAP species.

 

The one pictured here was in Dumb Bob Spinney in 2014. It was where Forest Holidays' "Retreat" was proposed.

 

In 2015 the first sighting was In early July in a Top-Lodge garden. There were several other records including a sighting by Brian Laney on the bridleway in Westhay Wood on 1st August .

First recorded in 2016 on 17th July

 

Silver-washed Fritillary

 

 

Has become very common in the wood in the last few years.

 

The photo left by Roger Eads was taken on 1st August 2015 and shows the silver wash on the underside.

 

The other image is by Peter Scott.

Below is a picture of the rare valezina form, recorded for the first time in Fineshade on 30th July 2017. Photo Roger Eads

 

 

 

Painted Lady

 

 

A migratory species breeding in North Africa.  
In 2015 it seemed to first arrive in Fineshade in late July but it had appeared elsewhere in the country much earlier. See an interactive map of its migration on the Butterfly Conservation website.

 

Images by Marion Ashby and Roger Eads

 

 

 

Small Heath

 

 

Another BAP species, there were reasonable numbers on the set-aside field near the railway bridge at Top Lodge in 2015. This species nearly always sits with its wings closed like this but it appears to be a light golden colour as it flew.

 

Picture by Barrie Galpin.

 

 

 

Marbled White

 

 

A specialist of open grassland, this butterfly was first recorded in Fineshade in 2013.

 

In 2016 it was seen in the recently widened rides in Westhay Wood and also near the Viistor Centre.

 

Pictures by Kurt Hellwing and Barrie Galpin

 

 

 

23 species in one day in 2018...

 

On 15th July 2018 Douglas Goddard led a guided walk for the Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire branch of Butterfly Conservation. The walk was from the Top Lodge Visitor Centre down the hill to the lorry bay at SP979991 and then back up and into the set-aside field on the right before the railway bridge on the lane to Top Lodge.  The following butterflies were recorded - it was thought to be the longest list ever recorded during any of the branch's field trips.

Large Skipper,

Small Skipper,

Large White,

Small White,

Green-veined White

Brimstone (6),

White-letter Hairstreak (2 in the wood, 1 on the bridge),

Purple Hairstreak (15),

Common Blue (5 in the field),

Brown Argus (12 - in grassy ride by lorry bay and in the field)

Small Copper (1 in the field)

Silver-washed Fritillary (c.40)

Dark Green Fritillary (1 by lorry bay, 2 or 3 in the field)

Purple Emperor (1 overhead at the bridge)

Red Admiral (1)

Comma (1)

Painted Lady (2)

Peacock (6)

Meadow Brown

Ringlet

Gatekeeper

Speckled Wood (1)

Marbled White (4 in the field)

 

 

 

... and 24 species in a month in 2017

 

In July 2017 we decided to try and find as many species as possible during the month. You can read about the month's sightings here.

and the complete list for the month (in alphabetical order) is below

Brimstone

Brown Argus

Clouded Yellow

Comma

Common Blue

Gatekeeper

Green-veined White

Large Skipper

Large White

Marbled White

Meadow Brown

Painted Lady

Peacock

Purple Hairstreak

Red Admiral

Ringlet

Silver-washed Fritillary

Small/Essex Skipper

Small Heath

Small Tortoiseshell

Small White

White Admiral

Speckled Wood

White-letter Hairstreak

 

 

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